People smugglers help tens of thousands of illegal migrants enter Europe each year with fraudulently obtained tourist or study visas. Their methods are becoming more and more refined.
In one instance, migrants were charged 8,000 euros per person to come to Germany on fraudulently obtained tourist visas. The head of the people smuggling ring - run by a family with Syrian and Polish roots - has now been arrested. But another gang in the eastern German state of Saxony is still running an operation that exploits a legal loophole. The people smugglers - in this case with German and Indian roots - organize sham marriages between Romanian or Czech women and Indian or Pakistani men. The men pay 20,000 euros to enter the EU. Police in Germany have managed to break up a number of people smuggling rings in recent years, but new structures quickly spring up again. The smugglers work internationally. Cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies is essential if authorities are to have any chance of combatting the problem. The United Nations estimate that smuggling migrants generates profits of some seven billion dollars a year.